Fast Fashion: Convenient or Catastrophic?

Margeaux Aydt, Reporter

Fast fashion is an extremely controversial topic in our generation. Everywhere teens look there is a new influencer with millions of followers promoting the newest fast fashion brand. Fast fashion allows buyers to purchase clothes that are constantly being updated to fit the newest trend for extremely low prices.

Seems like a win-win right? Not exactly. This form of consumerism is responsible for a tremendous amount of waste. According to EcoWatch, “The clothing industry is the second largest polluter in the world … second only to oil.”

In today’s day in age we are taught that clothing is disposable and can easily be replaced. This idea contributes to the mass consumerism that our country has seen rapidly grow in the past years. Reselling apps such as ebay, poshmark, and depop slightly help to diminish the mass total of pollution caused by this form of e-commerce. Listing used clothing on these apps instead of throwing them in the landfill decreases the chokehold fast fashion has on our generation.

Today’s teens are starting to realize the negative effects of fast fashion from insightful social media accounts that help to inform and educate. Examples of this include Instagram accounts such as @consciousnchic and @michelleforgood. These ethical influencers promote eco-friendly alternatives. Examples include purchasing clothes at thrift stores instead of buying new, using reusable utensils in place of single use, and making sure to recycle. “Thrifting” or buying second hand clothes also helps to alleviate some of the damage that the fast fashion industry is doing to our environment.

This doesn’t change the fact that companies are unethically producing millions of tons of clothing per year. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “The generation of textiles in 2018 was 17 million tons,”  and of that 17 million tons, “84 percent of our clothing ends up in landfills and incinerators.”

These fast fashion companies outsource to other countries such as China to get production costs lowered no matter the ethical consequences. This causes clothing to have to be shipped over extreme distances which in return leads to even more air pollution. Not to mention, the workers that produce this clothing have to work in extreme conditions and are paid very little.

All in all, while buying fast fashion is fast, cheap, and on trend, the impacts it has on our environment are much more permanent than that Shein crop top. If we do not start cutting back on our mass consumerism, keeping up with the latest trends will be the least of our problems.